Borrowers encounter collection agency people. The experiences are pleasant, fearful, and annoying. Customers borrowing money from banks and other lenders dread collection calls, letters, and emails. According to experts in the industry, the customers must take collection calls and agree to repay the amount they have borrowed from the lender. It will simplify things. However, consumers should learn about their rights as well. If you have unpaid debts, learn how to protect yourself from annoying and abusing calls from debt collectors.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from threatening and abusive calls from the collection agencies. As a borrower, you can stop these calls but you cannot avoid the loan you have taken out from a bank or lender. You will need to clear all your dues to your creditors.
There are some key provisions of the FDCPA that you must learn to protect yourself from debt collectors. These include protection from harassment including threats, abuse, violence, damage, as well as arrest. The law lets borrowers dispute the amount the collectors are claiming. You can ask collectors to stop revealing any debt-related details to people who do not have the permission to know about your debts. You can stop calls at unreasonable times before 8 am and after 9 pm. As a borrower, you can take legal action against the collectors or a group of people if they violate the rules laid by FDCPA.
According to an article published on https://www.huffpost.com, collectors cannot inflate an amount that you do not owe. Therefore, read on to learn more about some of the consumer rights to protect yourself from collection agency harassment.
1. Making the initial contact
When collectors first contact you, they should inform you of your rights to dispute any incorrect claim. It is called the mini-Miranda disclosure information. It refers to the Miranda rights statement law-enforcement officials, who should give information before arresting anyone as a criminal suspect. The collectors must inform borrowers about:
- The loan amount.
- The creditor’s name.
- The debt to be considered valid unless the borrower disputes the amount claimed within 30 days.
- The borrower asking for debt verification.
As per the existing laws, such information passed over the phone or sent to the borrowers, in written format within five days of the telephonic communication.
2. Abuse and harassment
The collection agency cannot use any form of abuse, physical or verbal threat to collect money. Using threats, violence, or any other criminal activities to harm or injure borrowers is against the law. The debt collectors cannot damage your property or reputation. All such activities are illegal under the FDCPA. The use of obscene, offensive and profane language is not allowed according to the law.
Calling multiple times, not talking, hanging up, or anonymous calls that are meant to annoy or harass you, your family and kids, coworkers, and neighbors are against the law.
If collection calls seem threatening and intimidating by the borrowers, they have the right to take legal action. When collection calls are fearful, becomes a threat to your safety at home or office, you can write a strict letter to cease all forms of communication, phone calls or letters. The letter you send should address the collection agency, informing that they are violating the federal law that is a punishable offence.
The debt collection agency cannot publish lists of consumers who cannot pay. However, the collectors can send the required information to authorized people, credit reporting bureaus, the creditor, or the creditor’s attorney.
Remember if you do not repay the loan, your creditor can sue you to recover the unpaid amount. That is the reason why you should opt for a consolidated loan to pay off your existing debts. There are lenders like NationaldebtRelief.com to come to your assistance and approve your consolidated loan. This way, you can repay your old loans, become debt-free, and avoid collection calls for the last time.
There are instances, when collectors show up at customers’ homes, flashes fake ID cards or badge, and even claim to pose as plain-clothed police officials. The FDCPA prohibits fake, deceptive, and ambiguous tactics when collecting debts from borrowers. If you feel that a collector is impersonating a police official, you can take legal action because it is a crime in several jurisdictions. We recommend that you get in touch with your local police department if you are a victim of falsification.
Then, debt collectors also impersonate as attorneys or credit reporting companies. In such situations, you can inform the collection agency about the same and take appropriate steps.
The threats to arrest borrowers, garnish wages, seize or sell assets are considered illegal activities unless collection agencies plan to take such actions according to the law. The threats to take actions, not legally allowed are prohibited under the law.
If you feel you are a victim of deceptive debt collection activities, you can file a civil suit against the collection agency. You can sue the other party within a year of these violations. If you can prove your claim in a court of law and win the case, you will become entitled to damages suffered for the losses incurred due to the violation of the law. It may include the attorney’s fee and another $1,000 additional damage. The borrowers filing class-action suits can get up to $500,000 or one per cent of the net value of the collection agency, what amount is the lower.
5. Maintenance of confidentiality
When you take a loan from a lender or bank, it is your private affair. The FDCPA protects consumers to protect your privacy and prohibit the disclosure of your debt details to unauthorized people. The people who have the right to your debt-related information are the attorney acting on behalf of the debtor, parents, guardians of minors, and spouses.
The letters sent to the borrowers must not identify the sender as a debt collector or involved in the collection business. The envelopes should not mention the name of the collection agency.
Now that you know about the borrower rights, you know what is legal and what is not. Pay your debts quickly through a consolidated loan to avoid sending your case to collections.